June the Sixth | The Economist

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The following leader was published on the cover of the The Economist on 10 June 1944, following the D-Day landings on 6 June.

FOUR years ago almost to the day the last man was taken off the beaches at Dunkirk. Then, under merciless German bombardment and resistance from the air, the remnants of the Allied army, without stores, without food, without equipment, were rescued from Europe in slaves and slaves and yachts and boats -row, in any strange dredging vessel that might cross the Channel. This is the picture of loss and disruption that can today be set against the great attack – armadas of 4,000 and 6,000 ships, the great armies equipped to the last detail of mechanized weapons, the Allied air forces in thousands of types raking the French skies empty of all German opposition. It is a great and interesting difference, and in the first hour of relief and happiness it is only right that the people of Britain should give their thanks to the one man who, above all, is the responsible for the greatest reversal of fortune in the history of this island. . Mr. Churchill is the chief architect of this achievement. It was his leadership and encouragement that led to Britain’s determination in 1940 to “stop the storm of war and pass the danger of the priest, if necessary for years, if only necessary. ” It was a vision of the tomorrow of Dunkirk which saw a future alliance forming, the new world stepping forth “with all its power and might” to the deliverance of the old, the gathering of the world against tyranny, the long struggle and the final success. This, in June, 1940, was not an easy or obvious prospect. When Mr. Churchill said

he spoke in terms of protection only and without surrender. But his words had a prophetic ring, and now indeed Britain and her Allies were fighting on the landing grounds and on the beaches, not on British soil, but on the free soil of Europe . If there is one man who can be said to have won this war, that man is Mr. Churchill.

It was his vision, but it could not have been achieved without the creation of the Grand Alliance and the great efforts and sacrifices of Britain’s friends. If British armies are able to enter the Continent in such strength and equipment, it is because the Americans are on their side and the flood of American war production has greatly helped to increase weapons. And if they face a German army and a German air force reduced to a shadow of its former strength, it is because the Russians have driven away the German military strength by their own incredible sacrifices . Russia’s cry for a Second Front was always a cry of dire need, and now that the Second Front has come, it is only fitting that the Western Allies should recognize the magnitude of their responsibility for the efforts of the Russia on the Eastern front. But gratitude is the last thing the Russians want. They want heavy blows, hard fighting and quick victory. The British and the Americans are now able to repay their debts to Russia in the best and most appropriate coin.

Even though the Great Powers have been the main engineers of Germany’s deeper defeat, in the coming weeks, it will be the countries of Western Europe that will have a major impact on the fight. The hour for their active participation has not yet come, and the leaders of the Allies have warned their men against a premature revolution which will lead to loss of life and effort before the crisis is reached. But even at the passive level, the people of Western Europe will be one of the factors in the victory of the Allies. Their bombardment behavior, their control in the center and rear of the advancing armies, has a military significance, just as, in the past, they refuse to accept the New Order and the their four-year struggle underground has been military qualities of the highest order. importance For them, too, the Allies owe a great debt and a debt that they will only pay in part with the act of liberation. Allied tanks and artillery and transport will inevitably add to the destruction begun by Allied bombing. As passive or active agents of their own liberation, the people of Western Europe are paying a heavy price. It is not enough to save them. The food trucks and mobile restaurants must come behind the guns. There is barely a physical basis for reconstruction in some areas. An attack threatens to cross the narrow margin of existence. The Allies must work hard if their friends are not to be spared simply for starvation. Much, too, will depend on the conduct of the attacking forces. The lessons taught by the Italian campaign on the dangers of overspending on the troops seem to have been learned, and though it is too much to hope that men will be expended a- out of the battle are always good ambassadors of will, each unit could at least go. out with some guidance on how good manners, good discipline, good humor and kindness can oil the wheels of the profession and lay the foundations of lasting friendships. Great Britain and America, in whatever manner and reserve they may be compelled to act, are in some sense the trustees of the political liberty of the people they liberate. in the future. Darlanism and competence belong to the level of military weakness and inadequacy. The great strength of the Allies allows them to choose where to act. If their choice is flawed or in danger, they can play an important role in undermining the freedom of the people and the friendship of the nations.

But when all thanks are given, and all contributions are counted, there are still the final artists of the victory, the men who, in the words of the King, “man of the ships, storm the beaches , and filling the sky.” Although the first advance has been secured with little loss of life, the hardest fight lies ahead. In the coming weeks, thousands of people will lose their lives or suffer disability, endure pain and hardship and strain, throw everything they have into the balance of victory without ‘ asking specifically why or counting the cost. For them at this time there is not much that the people living behind can do. They can be vigilant, as the King asked. They can face anxiety persistently. They will take their losses when they come; but the effort of gratitude will not be necessary until after that, when the men come home. They will not have won, they will have labored and sweated for it, all the way from Alamein to Bizerta, from Sicily to Rome, in the jungles of Burma, on the landing beaches in France. They have been the active agents of every military success. It is their courage and initiative and flexibility and common sense that have completed the historic turnaround of the past four years. It will not be enough for their elders to provide them with “food, work and homes” – the necessities of a decent post-war society. They must be allowed their place in that society, they must have opportunity and opportunity and responsibility to run it themselves.

The men who ruled the country in 1913 were still ruling it in 1923, and in many serious cases they were still doing so in 1939. After this war, let us pay the debt of gratitude more appropriate payment. The men who are air marshals and generals in their thirties must not wait until their sixties for honor and responsibility in civilian life. The change cannot be brought about overnight, at least while the war lasts, but this is the moment, in which the men fight and die and everyone with a heart and conscience very conscious of great debt, the firm intention to register. , after this war, youth and enthusiasm will not be a real disqualification for responsibility and the new world will not be built only for the generation of the war but around them and with them as well.

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